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Published on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Governor Releases Transportation Revenue Proposal

On December 16, at a press conference overlooking the 520 bridge, Governor Inslee unveiled a 12-year, $12 billion transportation plan. Notable is the absence of a gas tax increase in the plan, instead the primary revenue source is a proposed new tax on carbon pollution (details yet to be released). The rest of the package is funded through tolls, fees, and construction bonds.

AWC’s recently adopted legislative priority related to a transportation package calls for several specific elements: Direct distribution of gas tax revenues to cities at a percentage that reflects the actual amount of travel that occurs on city streets; an array of local transportation revenue options; and, increased funding for programs that benefit cities, including the Transportation Improvement Board, Safe Routes to Schools, Bicycle and Pedestrian grants, Complete Streets, transit, and freight mobility. Measured against our priority the Governor’s proposal is a mixed-bag for cities.

How is this proposal for cities?

Direct distribution: There is considerably less in direct distribution to cities and counties as there were in previous proposals coming out of the House and Senate. City streets are an essential part of the state transportation system so it is disappointing that the local share of transportation funds for basic maintenance and preservation is so low.

Local Options: The proposal contains increased councilmanic authority for transportation benefit districts to increase motor vehicle fees from $20 - $40, with the requirement that a jurisdiction be at $20 for two years before it can increase to $40.

TIB: The proposal maintains the existing level of TIB funding and adds an extra $21 million over 12 years. While we are pleased that existing programs such as the Arterial Preservation Program will continue, a more substantial increase in TIB funding would do more to assist cities.

Other aspects: There is an increase in funding for Safe Routes to Schools, the Bicycle and Pedestrian grant program, Complete Streets, transit, and the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board.

You can see a more detailed description of the Governor’s proposal here.

Categories: Transportation